In Defense of Ricky Martin

“Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.” -Edward de Bono

A while ago, I made a pop culture reference to a Ricky Martin video in which a girl pours hot wax on Ricky’s chest. In searching for that video I came, across this piece. It seems Ricky Martin has chosen to use some of his money and celebrity to help prevent human trafficking. I don’t really care one way or the other about Ricky Martin, but this seems pretty great right?

Well apparently not.

The article argues that Ricky Martin is actually contributing to human trafficking. According to the author,

“This guy has been peddling sex! He’s made his fortune on a kind of R-rated, MTV-sanitized pornography.”

I don’t totally disagree. Sure, Ricky Martin is selling sex. Most pop stars do. He’s selling catchy beats and dance music and his shirtlessness. I wouldn’t rank Ricky Martin especially high on my list of sexiest men ever, but I see the appeal. So why do I care?

Apparently, I care because, as the author explains,

“… Martin has just added to a global tapestry of ever-more-explicit sex in which women are treated as little more than men-pleasers. One can prance half-naked girls across a television screen only so many times before the message starts to stick: Women exist to satisfy the sexual appetites of men.”

I find this funny for several reasons. First, the author precedes that sentence with “No one is going to hear Martin’s new song and run out to buy a sex slave.”

So…Ricky Martin’s music doesn’t encourage sexual slavery? Wtf are you writing this for then?

Secondly, the author seems to forget that Ricky Martin himself is prancing around half naked in his videos. In fact, the author recalls the Livin’ La Vida Loca video with,

“…a scene involving hot wax, candles, and a young woman who could have been
exaggeratingly (sic) referred to as “half-dressed”.”

However, for Martin to be on the receiving end of the hot wax (which he is in the video), he would also have to be half naked. This seems to remind me of something…hmm…perhaps cultures in which women are covered head to toe for fear of tempting a man? When women prance around half naked, it leads to sex trafficking; when men do, even those who are adamantly anti-sex don’t seem to notice.

Rather creepily, the author suggests that,

“When he [Martin] shakes the hand of a young girl freed from sex slavery and smiles for the publicity shot, he should remember the lyrics from his new song, “This Is Good”: “I got your salt skin dripping on the tip of my tongue/ … We’re here tonight and it’s so criminal wicked, dirty, sticky let’s touch.” And then the chorus: “… Come walk with me into the night/Feel me inside your body tonight.”

So people who discuss sex shouldn’t help sex workers? Daring to discuss, out loud, your adult, consensual sexual interests means that you can’t care about victims of sexual abuse?

The author is unable to differentiate between sex between consenting adults and sexual slavery. He also can’t seem to understand how a man can look at a scantily clad woman and not immediately think “I need a sex slave!” Perhaps he can’t do that himself. Maybe he should be less concerned about the sexual impulses Ricky Martin inspires in others and a bit more concerned about his own sexual impulses.

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